Preventive dental care is the main goal of the health care policy in the Republic of Belarus. Healthy teeth and gums help to prevent overall health problems. General diseases are often caused by the local sites of infection in the oral cavity. Infections usually occur in case of a multiple dental decay and inflammation of oral mucosa.
According to the recent research, caries was found in 33% of 3-year old children, 80% of 6-year old children, 70% of 12-year old children and 99% of adults in our country.
Since caries and periodontal diseases are widespread in our country, the preventive dental care program has been included for the first time in the national health and demographic safety program for 2016-2020. The program is supported by the government and financed from the republican and local budgets. Budgetary funds are used to purchase fluoride varnishes, sealants and plaque indicators.
The exact causes of caries and periodontal diseases are still unknown. However, caries is considered to be caused by enamel erosion. Enamel erosion, in turn, is caused by organic acids. Organic acids are produced by plaque microorganisms from carbohydrates containing in foods. If organism lacks fluorides, dental tissues become more vulnerable to the destructive effect caused by organic acids. Periodontal diseases are caused by long-term exposure of plaque microorganisms. Thus, the main causes of caries and periodontal diseases are considered to be plaque microorganisms, carbohydrates in foods and fluoride deficiency.
There are three main evidence-based methods to prevent caries and periodontal diseases: oral hygiene, use of fluorides and a balanced diet. These methods are proved to be effective and are approved by the World Health Organization.
The key goal of oral hygiene is to remove soft plaque and calculus. Daily brushing is the solution.
Oral hygiene is a part and parcel of everyday life. Parents remove food debris from the mouths of their newborns. They wipe cut teeth with tissues 2 or 3 times a day. Parents shall brush their children’s teeth with toothpaste. 5-and 6-year old children may brush teeth themselves. Schoolchildren shall effectively care for their oral cavities and brush teeth with toothpaste.
Tooth brushing may prevent caries only if combined with fluorides and balanced diet.
Fluoride toothpaste shall have a quality certificate (with an indication of an active ingredient content), hygiene (safety) registration and shall be clinically approved in the Republic of Belarus. 500 ppm (0.05%) fluoride toothpastes are recommended for preschool children. Schoolchildren and adults may use 1000-1500 ppm (0.1%-0.15%) fluoride toothpastes.
Water is one of the natural sources of fluoride. Today, people tend to use bottled water (natural, mineral, medicinal and drinking) along with water supplied from common sources: plumbing, artesian wells, wells, rivers, etc. There is a wide choice of bottled water in the Belarusian market (about 70 brands). However, few manufactures indicate fluoride concentrations in water. It was found out that fluoride concentrations in bottled water consumed by the citizens of Belarus range from 0 to 10.5 mg/l. For e.g., Darida medicinal drinking water contains 2.3-2.8 mg/l of fluoride, Ulybka ‑ 1.9 mg/l, Alesya – 0.8 mg/l, Borjomi – 6.2-10.5 mg/l. The recommended daily intake is 1.4-4 mg/day.
Good nutrition and moderate consumption of carbohydrates is the key to healthy teeth and gums. Daily ration (3-4 meals per day) shall include products of four main groups: (1) baked goods, (2) dairy products, (3) meat products, (4) fruits and vegetables. If you consume carbohydrates more than 5 times a day, you are at risk of having caries.
Dentists, teachers, pediatricians and parents shall participate in the activities for the prevention of caries and periodontal diseases. They shall use the latest achievements, experience and preventive techniques to improve the overall dental health of the population.
Ekaterina A. Roko
Chief of Brest Dentistry fro Children, Branch No.1 of Brest Dentistry
Galina S. Bogatel
Chief of the 2nd Department of Treatment and Early Preventive Care of Brest Dentistry, Branch 1 of Brest Dentistry